What is the Lean Game?


The goal of the Lean Game is to introduce and reinforce Lean and Six Sigma methods, for reducing waste and achieving operational excellence.

Participants can experience in practice how to improve the operations and the bottom line by applying Lean methodologies. Especially, they get introduced to the 7 types of waste :

  • Transportation of parts
  • Inventory / WIP
  • Motion of operators
  • Waiting
  • Over-Processing
  • Overproduction
  • Defects

The game can be used as part of a company's Lean training, to onboard new employees at a production site, or as part of an Operations Management or Industrial Engineering class.

The Lean Game is hosted on the same platform as the Beer Game, allowing you to easily manage game sessions and invite participants.

Game Scenario

Zensimu's Lean Game simulates a workshop, producing and delivering products to a client.

The products are sheets of paper on which colored dots are painted with various shapes and colors.

Players perform various roles in the production process. In our painting scenario, they can be :

  • The Warehouse: receives customer orders, and launches corresponding raw material templates in production. When the units are processed, it also fulfills the customer orders.
  • Painting stations: add the painted colored dots, by clicking on the units. If a dot is not painted correctly (not well positioned, or not the right color/shape), the operation results in a defect.
  • Quality Control: it is similar to the Painting station, except it can remove the defectuous dots. You can also setup Quality Control to rework the units. It can then paint back a dot after having cleaned the wrong ones.


Each game round is played for a limited duration (5 to 20 minutes), during which the players try to fulfill as many customer orders as possible.

At the end, a debriefing page appears with the results of the team playing this workshop :

  • Financial view (P&L) comparing the revenue vs. costs
  • Fill rate: how many of the customer orders were fulfilled on time and with no defect
  • Resources efficiency and Flow efficiency: which proportion of the time/activities was actually bringing value for the customer
  • Cycle time analysis to evaluate if the work was balanced between stations and compared with the Takt time
  • Average Work-In-Process inventories throughout the game
  • Quality performance and how many defects were
Download an example of debriefing pdf here.

Playing several Rounds

A Lean Game session is usually played in several rounds, where some improvements will gradually be implemented.

Each round usually lasts between 5 and 20 minutes. It is a good idea to play for several shorter rounds instead of a unique long one, as it allows more time for players to reflect in-between each round.

For each game round, you can integrate some improvements in the game scenario, or allow participants to update these directly. The possible actions you can bring to the workshop are the following :

  • Cycle time analysis and Balancing workload
  • Autonomation / Jidoka
  • Workshop layout / Spaghetti chart
  • Introduction to Value Stream Mapping
  • Kanban to reduce WIP
  • Production and Demand Leveling (Heijunka)
  • Changeovers reduction (SMED)
  • Error-proofing (poka yoke)
Note that as of today,  you must create an individual game for each specific round using your Dashboard's interface.

Discover the game now

To try the game, go to your instructor Dashboard, then click on Create a new game.

From here, select Lean Game and the template : Short Lean Game - Round 1 :

You can create and play this game as Painting Green for example. You can also alternatively start the game without connecting as a role. In tis case, all the roles will be played automatically by the computer. This game scenario lasts for 6 minutes.

Afterwards, create a new game using the template : Short Lean Game - Round 2, this new templates has implemented many Lean improvements.

Once both games are finished, you can compare their results using the Analysis menu from your Dashboard.

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